Trigger-happy branding

Conventional business wisdom says it costs five to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Over the years, technology has done little to close the gap but, used right, it can be a way to leverage that existing customer relationship into more sales. “It’s about focusing on the ‘loyalty loop’ and getting people more engaged,” says Andrew Davis, author of the book “Brandscaping” and a keynote speaker at this month’s FSTEC conference.

To increase customer momentum, Davis suggests creating mental trigger moments, when they will think about coming to your brand.
That doesn’t mean giving away freebies, he says. “It requires a clear understanding of your audience ... Technology can answer those questions.” Here, his tips for getting guests to evangelize about your brand:

  • Excite them. Domino’s does this with its Pizza Tracker app that sends updates as the food is being prepared. “It personalizes my order and raises anticipation every moment,” says Davis. “I’m more likely to share that experience.” And many do, as evidenced by #PizzaTracker on Twitter, he says.
  • POP is the start, not the end. Especially as loyalty programs go digital, the point of purchase offers insight into what your most loyal customers want, Davis says. If someone orders the same thing every day for lunch, why not reach out to ask if they’d like their sandwich ready at the regular time. “That’s a trigger,” he says.
  • Extend the honeymoon feeling. People are always tweeting; pay attention. Whether it’s a welcome from a manager or a table upgrade, “it’s about making someone feel special. Those people will tell lots of other people. That’s going to drive loyalty and invite others in.” 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Why MOD Pizza is not out of the woods yet

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual pizza chain was sold last week to Elite Restaurant Group. But few who’ve seen the finances believe the company can avoid closing large numbers of stores.


Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


More from our partners